2023 pushed marketing boundaries. With AI and DIY tools becoming more mainstream, marketers had to get creative and step outside of their comfort zones to make a lasting impact with their efforts and rise above the noise. This was true not only on a small, local scale but was extremely relevant on a national and global scale as well. Looking back at some of the high points for marketing campaigns this past year was an exciting way to get a glimpse into what next year holds for the world of marketing. Enjoy our four favorite campaigns of this past year.

Welcome Back to North Shore: Mean Girls, Walmart Black Friday

Striking a chord with Walmart’s primary target, the millennial generation, and pop culture fanatics alike, this year’s Walmart Black Friday Marketing campaign takes you back to an iconic moment in movie history by parking us on the front steps of North Shore High School once again. This marketing campaign succeeds across the board. Several key elements that lead to its success include:

  • Honing in on the popularity and performance of nostalgia.
  • Buy-in and celebrity collaboration with key figures such as Lindsay Lohan’s Cady Heron and Lacey Chabert’s Gretchen Weiners (whose father famously invented toaster strudels).
  • Cohesive digital assets in video, website, social media, and beyond. Everything black Friday this year at Walmart had a little extra Mean Girls flair with glitter and sparkles abound.

We enjoyed this marketing campaign from the release of the first video ad to in-store sparkly displays. This campaign gets bonus points for not only succeeding in driving excitement from one of Walmart’s target audiences during a key shopping event, but the Mean Girls franchise also got to begin building buzz around their upcoming remake of the classic Mean Girls movie.

Back to School Woes: Never Run Out of Coffee, Onyx Coffee Lab

A local (gone international) brand, Onyx Coffee Lab, promoted their coffee subscription program with an extremely relatable and well-executed social media campaign and video in late summer of 2023.

The focal point of this campaign was a video short that illustrated the complexities of family life during the busy back-to-school season alongside the culture of a morning routine centered around coffee. Elements of this campaign that we feel made it a success:

  • Short and sweet. This video campaign was direct and to the point. No frills, just a clear message with clean design elements.
  • It’s relatable. People can see themselves in the characters and message portrayed. Oversleeping, busy mornings, and enjoying a hot cup of coffee amongst the bustle of daily life are all aspects that draw in Onyx’s target audience and puts them in the midst of the action.
  • It follows the PAS content marketing formula (Problem-Agitate-Solve) that is tried and true: show the customer the problem, make the problem hurt, present the solution in your product or service.
  • Narrow focus. Onyx Coffee Lab offers many great things. However, this ad doesn’t try to do it all. It is focused on one specific offering, their subscription service.

Giving Up Smoke: Snoop Dogg & Solo Stove

Humor, a clear message, obvious benefit, and solution. What’s not to love? The collaboration between Snoop Dogg & Solo Stove is a clear winner in terms of marketing campaigns for 2023. This advertising campaign leverages celebrity notoriety and combines that with catchy humor during the peak season for this product.

Insight into why this works so well:

  • Cross-generational celebrity notoriety. Snoop Dogg is well recognized across many generational groups, especially those that would be purchasing Solo Stove’s product.
  • Shock & Humor take the lead in this ad with some of the first words uttered by Snoop being “I’m giving up smoke,” immediately getting the attention of viewers and finishing out the play on words delightfully by highlighting Solo Stove’s key feature, no smoke.
  • Obvious benefit of this product versus competitors. They highlight the pain point and solve it for consumers.

Barbie World: Mattel & Warner Brothers

Possibly one of the best executed cohesive marketing campaigns of all time, Mattel and Warner Brother’s Barbie Movie takes the cake for our favorite of 2023. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know the impact this marketing scheme had on a global audience. From immersive experiences, product collaborations, and pink everything, Barbie made a lasting (pink heeled) impression on the marketing landscape.

Key things to note about the success of this campaign:

  • Cross-product promotion. They were able to collaborate with a variety of producers to dually benefit retailers, manufacturers, and consumers alike. Reference: Fisher Price Little People, OPI Nail Polish, Microsoft’s Xbox
  • Immersive experiences are an effective way to grab the attention of consumers, and Barbie did a great job of executing this through things like a giveaway for an Airbnb stay, Barbie Cruises, and many more.
  • Social Media Hype. Social media traction knew no bounds. Viral campaigns like “This Barbie” and incorporation of viral Barbie music and the Barbie selfie generator stole the show.
  • Out-of-the-box applications and presentations of the Barbie brand helped maintain buzz and peak interest of consumers across nearly all demographics. Like this simple billboard campaign or these Barbiecore food collaborations.

What does this mean for your business and 2024?

Looking back at some of these success stories can help get your creative juices flowing as you plan for the upcoming year. Most of these successful marketing efforts have these things in common:

  • Collaboration
  • PAS Content Strategy (Problem, Agitate, Solve)
  • Nostalgia
  • Out-of-the-Box & Unique Brand Applications

Each of these items adds a unique touch to the marketing of their respective products and services that makes them stand a step above their competition. In 2023, it was less about what you can do better than the other guy and more about what makes your brand stick in the minds of your target audience. With that in mind, gear up for 2024 and stay ahead of your competition by planning a one-of-a-kind way to make an impact on your industry through unique marketing campaigns like the stars of this year.

Ready to take 2024 by storm? We’ve got you covered.